University of the Creative Arts select winning design for new business school

28 June 2019
  • UNStudio


United Kingdom

UNStudio create flexible space for campus extension in Epsom

In September last year, the University of the Creative Arts in Epsom launched a contest for the provision of design services for a business school to supplement the current facility and accommodate new academic programmes.  Now, UNStudio have been selected as the winners, from a field of shortlisted applicants that included Wilkinson Eyre, Haworth Tompkins, Hall McKnight and Tate Harmer.

Inspired by the history of the UCA campus and the tactile nature of the artworks created by those studying and working in the school, UNStudio proposed a geometric composition of soft, island-like structures. The extension is centred around a design element called The Fireplace, which links all the spaces together and promotes a fresh approach to education. The area acts as a central gathering space for knowledge sharing, combined with an elevated circulation ring that connects the existing and the new buildings. As such, it provides a stage for campus events and an informal learning space for everyday use.   

Continuing the theme of blending spaces together, the covered courtyard and internal garden blur the boundaries between the indoor and outdoor areas. Where the glass facade of the courtyard opens up, the greenery of the garden extends into the interior.

Designed to encourage interaction and collaboration throughout the campus and to blur the boundary between faculty members and students, the main inspiration for the new school is the concept of historical ‘salon’ gatherings. Ben van Berkel, founder and principal architect at UNStudio, explained: “Salons provided fascinating opportunities for debate for intellectuals from all walks of life. Artists, scientists, philosophers, politicians; they all gathered to debate the concerns of their time, cross-fertilising and mutually influencing each other’s ideas along the way. Facilitating such exchange of ideas forms the core of the design for the new Business School.”

Lucy Nordberg
TenderStream Head of Research

This competition was first published by TenderStream on 26.09.2018 here

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